Tag Archives: Witchcraft

Aubry’s Dog: Power Animals in Tradition Witchcraft

Dog’s are never out of the limelight these days.  They lead the visually impaired, alert the hard of hearing and support those with mental problems.  The load and unload washing machines; help with medication; sniff-out substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, wildlife scat, currency, blood, and contraband electronics; they are members of the armed forces, police and the fire service. The use of dogs in search and rescue is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people.  They make wonderful companions and research has shown that caring for a canine might actually extend our lifespan. Previous studies have shown that dog owners have an innate sense of comfort and increased well-being and they provide a calming influence to help reduce both physical and psychological reactivity which is particularly relevant for veterans who are suffering from PTSD … and the list goes on.

Is it surprising then, that magical practitioners can drawn on the ‘power of the dog’ ? DNA research has led to the deciphering of the genetic code of the dog, which makes the choice of the dog ideal as a ‘power animal’.   An article in the Science Journal reveals that many of the 360 inherited dog diseases have human counterparts, and that the genetic code of the dog is spelt out by about 2,500 million ‘letters’, compared with the 3,000 million that describes their owners. “Dogs and humans share 650 million ‘letters’ and scientists have found an equivalent dog gene for three quarters of known human genes,” explained Dr Venture“The fact that they are so similar, despite millions of years of evolution along separate tracks, suggests that they are important.”  A fact that should not be overlooked by magical practitioners when searching for a compatible power animal.

To put power dogs in their true magical perspective we need to recognise which breeds are the aristocrats in terms of our own ancestral associations – as well as theirs. We must also understand why certain dogs are better suited to individual spell casting, protections and curses.

In Aubry’s Dog we examine the various breed characteristics that can be looked upon as further canine ‘correspondences’ for use in magical working. When using ‘dog power’, we need to be able to create an amulet, charm or talisman that will reflect these characteristics. For seeking lost property over distance, for example, we would not enlist the help of the greyhound (sight

hound) – but we would use the image of a bloodhound (scent hound); for defeating our enemies we would be ill-advised to use a terrier, when we can call upon the energies of the mastiff.

When working with wild energies, however, we must refrain from attempting to give them the anthropomorphic characteristics of the domestic dog. Wild dogs are voracious and ruthless hunter-killers, sometimes turning their attentions on humans if and when circumstances warrant. As much as we may admire their fearless survival skills, it is inadvisable to underestimate them

both in the wild, and in magic. When invoking the energies of the wild dog, regardless of species, we are calling upon their primeval instincts over which humans have no control.

Like the Egyptians, the early Babylonians, Assyrians and Chaldeans, who were living between the two great rivers the Euphrates and the Tigris, also revered the dog. History relates that the governor of Babylon owned so many dogs that four towns were made exempt from taxes provided the inhabitants fed their dogs properly.  According to encyclopaedia Man, Myth & Magic, because the Egyptians worshipped the dog, the Hebrews hated them and scorned the belief that dogs could detect the presence of spirits and ghosts or were familiar with the world beyond the grave.

Nevertheless, in contemporary society, the animal’s value is due to its remarkable companionable abilities and because a dog’s senses are much keener than a human’s.

  • A dog’s hearing is attuned to pick up extremely high-pitched tones from a considerable distance. The so-called ‘silent- whistles’ used by dog trainers demonstrate the great range of a dog’s hearing powers and make it invaluable as a guardian of family and livestock.
  • A dog’s nose is so sensitive that we are unable to conceive the great range of odours that canines detect. A piece of wood touched only by the tip of its owner’s finger can be selected by a trained dog from 20 other identical pieces. Bloodhounds have been known to follow perfectly the trail of a stranger 48 hours after the path was traversed. There is no known method of measuring this sensitivity of the dogs’ olfactory powers, but it is among his strongest and most often utilised senses.
  • A dog’s sight is considerably weaker than man’s although they have a greater sensitivity to movements, however slight. Some breeds, specifically the ‘gaze-hounds’ do make great use of their sight in following game across open country.
  • A dog’s ‘fleetness of foot’ means that it can pursue and overtake its quarry, or outrun its rivals. In the wild, a wolf’s speed makes all the difference to whether the pack goes hungry or not.
  • A dog’s strength and tenacity is not necessarily determined by its size. Smaller dogs, especially the terrier breeds, can often be the champions in terms of sheer grit and determination.

In Aubry’s Dog, we look at creating a protective charm for the home and a healing amulet, as well as taking the physical attributes of the various different breeds and creating a very personal, protective amulet. One of the simplest ways is to acquire a piece of jewellery, or even a metal key ring, bearing the image of one of the more popular dog breeds (or wolf, fox, etc.,) and charge it magically. For those who prefer to create an amulet from scratch in the traditional way, however, first catch your dog! Or rather acquire something from a canine that suggests strength, i.e. claws, bone, teeth, rather than the softness of fur. This does not, of course, mean that any living canine should be deprived of these accoutrements. Seeking them out over a period of time should be viewed as part of the magical quest … but your vet might be able to help out with claws or the odd tooth. A dead fox could provide everything, but as a mark of respect do bury the remains within the parameters of magical ethics.

Once we have acquired our canine ingredient (natural or manufactured) focus on the breed of our astral canine protector.  It could have been selected for its:

  • Eyesight (to see danger or detect opportunity).
  • Hearing (warning sounds or hearing something advantageous).
  • Smell (detecting a threat or danger).
  • Speed (fast action in dealing with a problem).
  • Strength (the power to help overcome adversity).
  • Tenacity (the will to persevere or fight against the odds).

This is a personal amulet, so only we can decide what the focus will be. Do we want a general charm that will go everywhere with us like a trusty dog; or are we looking for specific protection (in the workplace, while out hunting, or from rivals/the opposition, etc.,); or do we need backup in areas where our own faculties are not fully functioning? Do bear in mind that a focused magical spell will be much stronger than a more general purpose one.

Aubry’s Dog: Power Animals in Traditional Witchcraft by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in paperback and e-book format ISBN 978 1 78099 724 7  Shaman Pathways series : pp84 : UK£4.99/US$9.95  www.moon-books.net

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Witchcraft into the Wilds

Rachel Patterson’s Witchcraft into the Wilds, reviewed by Cosmic Dancer

Yet another fabulous book by Rachel, this really takes you back to working with nature, very down to earth and showing you just how easy it is. You don’t need to buy fancy things, as mother nature provides these things. I loved the journal prompt too, documenting what you do is a brilliant way to look back and advance you work if you’re new to this path. Lots of very practical advice, these books just get better and better.

More on the publisher’s website – http://www.moon-books.net/books/witchcraft-into-wilds 

What’s wrong with being a witch?

I don’t know what angered me more—that tea party candidate Christine O’Donnell trashed witchcraft or that people have a problem with a Wiccan running for political office. I wasn’t the only pagan upset about this.

When I first saw the video with O’Donnell admitting to dabbling in witchcraft, I thought she was a nut ball and was glad she wouldn’t get elected since the majority of conservatives are Christian. But then I realized that by thinking that way, I was being as narrow-minded as everyone else that objects to any non-Christian religion.

Why couldn’t someone with a brain admit to being a witch? Someone who could explain Wicca/pagan practices correctly? Pagans had a chance to have a voice and instead were aligned with Devil worshippers.

So, what’s wrong with being a witch? Nothing, unless witches are truly as horrible as Christine O’Donnell described them. Thanks to her rambling nonsense, witches will have to work even harder to fix an already tarnished reputation among the mainstream population. Pagans do not worship the Devil, they don’t even believe in the Devil. The Devil is a Christian invention. I can see how people get confused, especially when the dictionary doesn’t even get it right. A witch practices Wicca.

It would be awesome to have a Wiccan elected to a political office, but it was obvious from the way O’Donnell giggled and babbled in the video that she wasn’t serious about being a witch, and she didn’t know what she was talking about. And, Ms. O’Donnell, you don’t dabble in witchcraft. Witchcraft/paganism is a lifestyle.

Kelley Heckart

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The Inherent Mother

This is the story that made me really want to get writing on Real News of relevance to Pagans:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-10786279

OK, it’s a commentary page rather than a News story. But it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while, and I find it hard to believe that I’m alone.

As pagans, we take the idea of the Goddess as Maiden, Mother and Crone pretty much for granted – it’s one of those things you learn right from the start, in the first (and fifty-first) Paganism 101 book.

The only time I’ve seen an alternative, in fact, is in a recent issue of Sagewoman magazine, suggesting an addition to the tripartate Lady – the Queen. This is the stage of womanhood after childbearing and rearing, but before menopause, when a woman really starts to live her life for herself. A lovely idea, and one I’d embrace wholeheartedly, if it were applicable.

But how many of us ladies have encountered a lack of place in such a system for us? (I know some gentlemen friends who feel similarly excluded from the God role, whether as homosexual, transgendered or simply for the same reasons I’m going into here, just from a male perspective – but I don’t think I’m equipped  to discuss that, so will leave it to one of the chaps. Hopefully they’ll be able to read this post regardless. As last time, I promise it won’t turn into a feminist rant.)

I’m a woman in my thirties, who has yet to feel any broodiness or longing for a child. I won’t discount it as a future possibility, but from childhood myself, I never really saw it as something I’d want to do. As with the women in the article, there are a variety of reasons, and with the efficacy of birth control, I count myself fortune that I can continue with my life without any small attachments as yet.

This doesn’t mean I’m some sort of uncaring harridan, the old-school spinster type. I have a loving partner, pets and busy life with many friends I care for deeply. I am not beholden to my career either, simply to living my life as fully as I can, with my faith as a strong part of that.

However, as the BBC discovered, some women cannot take such a lifestyle choice quietly. I know of like-minded ladies who have been openly confronted with such wisdom as ‘if you don’t have children, you aren’t a proper woman’. Their fitness to BE women is actually questioned because they take the option open to them not to be mothers – and this is before their faith even enters the argument.

Even in the 21st century, women’s roles are still tacitly assumed to be limited to their gendered skills – specifically Jerry Hall’s famous quote. In pagan circles, as we struggle for recognition in the modern world while endeavouring to recognise our ancestry, there is still only the Maiden, Mother and Crone. What place in there for me?

When placed in ritual, I’ve seen the confused faces as roles are assigned and realisation dawns. I’m usually planted somewhere between the Maiden and the Mother (presumably No-longer-a-Maiden-but-Not-a-Mother-Yet).

Men don’t seem to have this problem in society generally – there’s no stigma against a ‘confirmed bachelor’ – but in pagan rites you somehow aren’t so confined. You may be Brother, Son, Warrior, Lover… the comparative workings of your loins are not (necessarily) up for public debate.

But there are options – we’ve all seen them. Acting as Priestess, you’re effectively ‘mother’ to the group as a whole (whether you are in daily life or not). We’ll all be Maidens and Crones, but are also fully able to act as Carers, with all the responsibility that this conveys, without having actually given birth ourselves.

I certainly understand the importance of mothers – both in actuality, as a central point of our being, and in the larger, global sense of Earth and Goddess. But can we not also be Women, strong in heart, mind and body, without a small person to confirm it?

I know my Goddess can.